Sheriff needs to explain more

By From page A5 | July 03, 2013

EDITOR: Elected public officials have an obligation in the grand scheme of our form of government to provide the public with the reasons for major policy decisions, so that people can judge for themselves. Sheriff D’Agostini has yet to explain adequately his reasons for terminating the ability of U.S. Forest Service law enforcement personnel to enforce state law on lands administered by the Forest Service.

The Sheriff’ cites only unspecified complaints. The Sheriff has not indicated the number of those complaints, their basis or whether his department investigated them. We do know that he didn’t bother to contact Forest Service officials about them before taking precipitous action.

Given that El Dorado is a mostly rural county and the well known high cost of the Sheriff’s Department, it would not seem to be appropriate for the Sheriff to have reduced resources available for law enforcement. At the very least, the public is entitled to a full explanation detailing the nature of the alleged complaints and their numbers.

The seriousness of the Sheriff’s action suggests an ongoing pattern of serious problems with Forest Service law enforcement. If that is the case, the Sheriff should disclose those problems and, if not, the Sheriff should promptly restore the cooperative agreement with the Forest Service.



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